There’s thousand of drones out there that have impressive maneuvers, which includes those that can dive like a seabird, lands like a perching bird and even shape-shift their wings to soar throigh the air. but none of the drones can take off and land on vertical surfaces. There’s just this autonomous aircraft developed by a team from Sherbrooke University, called the S-MAD, that can just do that.
The drone is called S-MAD (Sherbrooke’s Multimodal Autonomous Drone) and was presented by the researchers at the Living Machine 2017 conference last week, where it won the “Best Robotics Paper Award.” The team was inspired by the ability of birds to adjust their flight path with a last-minute upward thrust as they close in on perching locations.
Here’s how it does it. The drone flies horizontally towards the oncoming wall at a speed of 7 to 9 meters per second. A laser sensor then detects the wall and feedback control slows the aircraft down to 1 to 3 meters per second, as it tilts the drone upwards. Thrust increases meanwhile to hold its vertical position as it closes in on the wall.
Microfiber feet then latch onto the wall and suspension absorbs the kinetic energy from the impact as the propellor is switched off. The team says these feet will engage any rough surfaces, including bricks, concrete and stucco. With the drone settled on the wall, it can apparently remain there until it is time to take off again, at which point it fires up the propellor and leaves its perch behind.
I don’t know about you, but I think this drone is awesome. It’s not everyday you get to see drones sticking on building walls, and it can even take off from that spot! I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on them. You can check out the video below:
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Image from New Atlas